1948 Coufran


I do not wish to sound like a broken record, but allow me to reiterate the most sage advice I will ever dispense on old bottles of wine. Provenance is key. Perhaps even more than producer or vineyard, how that bottle has lived its life determines how it will show once released from incarceration.

Take this humble 1948 Coufran. This bottle had spent its life in a cool, dank cellar, hardly ever moved. Coufran is not a prestigious château, nor was this wine born in a particularly esteemed growing season, forgotten between 1947 and 1949. Yet, after three-quarters of a century, this Haut-Médoc elicited so much joy when served blind at a private dinner in Beaune. Sporting little aging on the rim, the bouquet is simple but unbelievably fresh, well-defined and charming. Vestiges of black fruit intermix with tobacco. The aromatics, for want of a better word, just seem joyful. That is translated onto the palate that, if you must quibble, is a bit rough around the edges, but undeniably well-balanced, with crunchy tannins, crisp black fruit, touches of smoke and tobacco and crucially, quite a noticeable saline finish that beckons you back for more. While not the easiest bottle to find, it is claret like this that habitually crops up at auctions, often inside mixed cases, that, if kept well, represent better value than more auspicious names and even recently released vintages. 92/Drink 2024-2040.

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